Skip to Content

College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management

  • Graphic with headshots of Morgan Guynn, Forrest Merrill, Kios Perrin II and Brianna Watts

USC announces fourth cohort of Tepper Scholars

The University of South Carolina's College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management is proud to welcome the newest cohort of Tepper Scholars. The four incoming freshmen will join the internationally acclaimed Department of Sport and Entertainment Management and its most prestigious scholarship program.

Created in 2020, the David and Nicole Tepper Scholars Program recruits the best and brightest sport and entertainment management students and enriches their education opportunities, and ultimately their careers. The Teppers own the Carolina Panthers NFL team, Charlotte FC MLS team and Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. They are active philanthropists and strong supporters of access to education.

The vision for the Tepper Scholars Program is to guide and mentor each cohort so they really grow in the business and take the offered experiences and apply them in the real world setting.

Nicole Tepper
Nicole Tepper headshot

USC's Tepper Scholars are selected based on academic merit with an emphasis on supporting student diversity and first-generation students. The scholars receive funding to cover half of their tuition for four years as undergraduate students. In addition, they benefit from direct mentorship and career development opportunities with the Tepper Foundation and Tepper Sports and Entertainment.

Morgan Guynn

Mount Airy, Maryland

Morgan Guynn headshot

Morgan Guynn has proven herself as a leader on the soccer field, on the track and in the classroom.

She earned both academic and athletic honors in high school — maintaining a 4.2 GPA while taking honors, advanced placement and dual enrollment classes. As varsity soccer captain, she led her team to the school's first ever state championship. She claimed another state title as part of her school's 4x400 relay team and made the state finals on her own in the 55m dash.

Guynn also served as her school's inaugural mass communications student intern, organizing a weekly live broadcast about school news and events.

"My intense love of sports began around age seven. I just finished an exciting season of fall soccer, and I vividly remember sobbing immensely as my mom told me that the next season would not begin until the spring. I believe my coaches and teachers would say that I have carried this same level of enthusiasm throughout my high school career," Guynn says. "My goal is to combine my passion for sports with my desire to lead, encourage, and bring out the best in others while exploring and experiencing career fields such as sport and entertainment marketing and management, sports law, and athletic director."

Forrest Merrill

Wilmington, North Carolina

Forrest Merrill headshot

Forrest Merrill's love for sports began when his brother introduced him to the NBA. The wide variety of players with vastly different styles coming together to generate joy and inspiration for fans sparked his dream to build a career in the sport industry.

His pursuit of that dream drove him to excel as a high school student, maintaining a 4.0 GPA and earning recognition as a National Honor Society member, an academic merit award winner, and as a peer mentor. He also volunteered his time and talents to support nonprofit organizations including the Special Olympics and Alzheimer's Association and began gaining career experience through summer jobs.

As an Asian-American / Filipino-American, Merrill hopes to break stereotypes and inspire others by showing that you can have a successful and rewarding career in sport, even if it might seem unconventional in some cultures.

"I know that to achieve my goals requires not only having a burning passion within me, but also to be able to surround myself with people who are willing to take me under their wing to become the greatest version of me," Merrill says. "The Tepper Scholars program, through the help of both David and Nicole, can offer me that mentorship and provide me the opportunity to attend the university's world class sport management program and make a name for myself in the world of sports."

Kios Perrin II

West Columbia, South Carolina

Kios Perrin II

Sports can open doors and unite people from all backgrounds and walks of life, and that power is what made Kios Perrin a passionate fan and sparked his dream of a career in the business side of the sports world.

Perrin excelled as a high school student while taking advanced classes and will arrive at USC as a freshman with multiple course credits already complete. He earned a place in the National Honor Society along with an award for the highest GPA on his school's basketball team, an academics and athletics award from the Columbia Urban League, and a Lexington County School District 1 Educational Foundation award for being in the top 10% of his senior class.

While in high school he also gained work experience as a marketing intern with Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation and as a crew member at Chipotle and Zaxby's. He also began sharing his love of sports with the next generation as a youth basketball coach.

"I want to show the younger generation, like the kids I coach, that there are endless opportunities right here in our own backyard at the University of South Carolina," Perrin says. "Also, I am committed to my academic and career goals. I am willing to put in the effort necessary to achieve my goal of working for a professional sports organization. I know how competitive this field is, which is why I look forward to internship opportunities, volunteering, and research projects where I will be able to network and learn from others in the sports industry."

Brianna Watts

Cary, North Carolina

Brianna Watts headshot

Brianna Watts begins her college career with a resume that would already be the envy of many.

Her stellar academic performance in high school (4.589 GPA with numerous advanced placement and dual enrollment classes) earned her the College Board's National African American Recognition Award, the AP Capstone Diploma Award and the AP Scholar with Distinction Award, among others. She was the Wake Forest Summer Program Sports Marketing Institute Project Winner, principal violist for the Phoenix Youth Symphony, Colorguard and Winterguard captain, president of the Cary High School Black Student Association and Cary High School Student Ambassadors and Town Representative for Cary High School.

"Throughout my life I have made choices deemed to be a little different," Watts says. She chose the viola as a nine-year-old because no one else in her class wanted it. She chose colorguard over cheerleading because colorguard needed new members. Sport and entertainment management was not the choice expected by some of her family and friends, but as always, she chose her own path.

"Sport and entertainment has a profound impact on the lives of many people worldwide. Live events pull people away from the stress of everyday life, and allow them to enter a world where nothing else matters except what is happening on the big stage," she says. "I have become passionate about this industry because it helps people in the same way that teachers and doctors do, but with more pageantry and fanaticism."

We are excited to have the new group of Tepper Scholars joining the program. We had a record number of scholarship applicants this year with a variety of experiences and backgrounds. This group of scholars stood out through the application and interview process, and we are looking forward to watching them become leaders within the sport and entertainment industries.

Matt Brown, Department of Sport and Entertainment Management Chair
Matt Brown headshot

More on the Tepper Scholars Program

The David and Nicole Tepper Scholars Program will invite applications in early 2024 for fall 2024 incoming freshmen. Students interested in applying must be admitted to the University of South Carolina’s sport and entertainment management program. More information is available on the Tepper Scholars Program page on the College of HRSM website.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.